ECJ kicks common sense into touch

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Pass me the blood pressure tablets. Once again, many of my colleagues in the HR profession seem to have spent the last few months taking violin lessons while the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been busy trying to start fires.

In a week when the ECJ ruled, not unexpectedly, that those on long-term sick leave will be entitled to the equivalent of 57.6 weeks (post-April) pay per year, while those who are blessed with being healthy enough to attend work and keep their organisations running will only receive 52 weeks pay, we still seem to focus on campaigns to scrap the default retirement age and navel-gaze about not being taken seriously by the rest of the business (‘HR must adapt to survive recession’, Personnel Today, 20 January).

I’m glad that your Legal Opinion at least welcomed the ECJ decision as ending uncertainty, although I would forego the certainty if it would potentially save my organisation a few thousand pounds.

Perhaps HR would gain more credibility from management teams if it lobbied the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Confederation of British Industry and other employer bodies. If the default retirement age should be opposed on the grounds of ‘principles’ – as argued by one commentator last week – then surely this fundamentally flawed ECJ ruling must be vigorously opposed?

Sorry, must dash – I’ve just seen another bandwagon in the distance.

Martin Manning, personnel manager, Epwin Group

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